Friday, December 9, 2016

Nature Traveler

"Over the years, I have found that travel allows me to discover personal priorities that are discernible only when the chatter of daily living melts away. And with this discovery, I can re-calibrate the basics of life; this is especially true when the travel is in nature."

Katherine Hanson
Special to the Star Tribune

Sedona, Arizona

I was inspired by the above snippet from an article in the Star Tribune, to wax poetic about travel. I guess I can relate to Katherine's feelings. Maybe you can too. Travel, especially nature travel, means the whole wide world to me. And I've only scratched the earth's varied and beautiful surface with a little stick. 

5 top chicken scratchings:

1) Hiking on a narrow path, 2,000 feet above the stunning Waipo Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii. Hugging the left. Because the drop off was an epic 2,000 foot vertical slide.

2) Swinging through trees like a monkey in Costa Rica. (tethered to a zip line mind you, since I can barely open a jar of pickles) 

3) Utilizing mountain roads in Central America no better than a lonely cow path. Is it a road if there are no other vehicles, no bridges over mountain streams and no other signs of life other than locals on horseback? I guess so. We made it.

4) Hiking to see the fury of Pele first hand, again, on the Big Island of Hawaii. There was a man ahead of us that literally brought a little stick. It was in his back pack. It turns out, he brought it with him for the sole purpose of sticking it to the lava. To watch it burn. 

5) My husband and I both agree, that our best night ever was in Granada, Nicaragua. It was our first night. New Year's Day. As we walked through the colonial city, we peeked inside home after home, witnessing elaborate Christmas shrines. It was so different than we decorate here. They really were shrines. Bright, festive and holy. Then, we had a marvelous steak dinner, serenaded by parrots and fortified with Flor de Cana rum. The best in the world if you ask me. Afterwards, we trolled around town, stopping at a towering old church. We were serenaded again, by hundreds of voices rising to the rafters in Christmas song. The acoustics were inspiring! Lastly, we picked up two Tonas (the local beer) and wandered back to our room. We sat on a warm balcony with the whole trip ahead of us, talking travel. Sigh. Memories. 

There's always some unforgettable memory on each and every trip. I could go on and on. Like this summer, while rounding a desolate turn on a dry, desert road of nothingness. Immediately, after rounding the bend, the scene turned to eye popping visuals of towering red rock country. In Sedona, Arizona. The landscape was lunar, like the leavings of a child's mud sculpture. Massive, martian and as seductive as a Georgia O'keefe painting. The only other experience that compares, so far, not talked about in 1-5, was heading down another windy road years before. This time, we were in Costa Rica. Our first trip. We rounded a turn and there, in the distance, sat a towering cone shaped volcano belching fire. We were hooked. Five trips later, the waves of Dominical beach draw us back with their perpetual siren song. The scarlet macaws of the Osa peninsula shriek from on high. And the pirate bar in the Dominical hills serves up our favorite burger with a side of rum!

I feel like travel is the fertilizer of life. It can turn nasty mental weeds into beautiful winter blooms. It nourishes the soul, sustaining it through the down times. It gives the traveler wings. 

When a trip is in my rear view mirror, photos are my favorite souvenirs. Thanks for looking.  

Happy travels!

P.S. Leave me a comment with your favorite travel memory.


Ruth Rieckehoff said...

Feel identified with your post since I enjoy nature travel a lot! Sometimes, I feel like I do not get enough of it. But, there are certain things that keep drawing me nearer and nearer to nature. #TPThursday

carol l mckenna said...

Lovely photo, quote and post ~ nature is a treasure and you obviously value it ~

Wishing you peace in your week ~ ^_^

Lady Fi said...

What a lovely scene.

Photo Cache said...

I experienced #2 as well. Love Costa Rica, want to go back.

Worth a Thousand Words

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I really love your musings on our favorite activity ! So many great travel memories.... I would have to be as talented as you are to do them justice in this little space. Because I am not, I read good travel writers.

bettyl-NZ said...

I never even entertained the idea of travel until I moved to New Zealand, but I can now appreciate the quote and the serenity of travel.